Namibia mayor says tourists should be exposed to the poor


The mayor of Windhoek in Namibia, Elaine Trepper, at the opening of the 2011 Namibia Tourism Expo on Wednesday, said that visitors to the country should not only be shown how well-off Namibians are living, but should also be taken to the informal settlements to see how the poor communities there live.

She said Namibia is known as a middle income country, but in reality, it is one of the poorest countries and tourists have to be exposed to the poor communities within the country as well.

She continued to say that if the visitors see how poor these people are, they [visitors] would feel sorry for them and assist.

“It does not mean we are begging, but it will encourage tourists to make investments in our country,” Trepper said.

A lot remains to be done as about 27.6% of households are classified as poor and 13.8% as severely poor. Poverty is especially prevalent in rural areas. The poorest 10% of households own just 1% of the country’s total income, according to the recently conducted Namibia Household Income and Expenditure Survey.

The unemployment rate, which is currently at 51.2%, is also a cause of concern.

As the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) puts it, “as a middle-income country with one of the most unequal income distributions in the world, Namibia is a place of poverty amid plenty.”